Remember when you were going to get that new project management system to replace the homegrown system you're using now? Or, maybe it was a new digital asset management system so you could keep track of all the images and logos that you need for your marketing communications, the ones you're getting tired of recreating that no one can find. It seems like just yesterday, but it was probably 12 to 18 months, or maybe 2 years since those plans have been on hold. It might just be time to dust off and update those plans.

The reasons you were looking at technology upgrades, improved efficiency and effectiveness, are still there. And maybe, you need these tools even more since budgets are flat or decreasing, but the workload keeps growing. So, you need those technology upgrades more than ever, and the good news is that this is a great time to be in the market.

While we were all working through the economic downturn, many of the providers of technology solutions were working hard at adding new functionality, moving their solutions to state of the art platforms, and developing improved interfaces for personal communications devices. Recently, I've been seeing many companies announce new releases of their solutions for marketing communications and creative services. And the exciting thing is that these new releases are addressing real needs and fixing some of the weaknesses in earlier versions.

There are three things that I've found particularly exciting in these releases--things that I've mentioned in the past.

  • Improved Report Capability--I've always thought that one of the weaknesses of most automated workflow software was the ability to create meaningful reports. Either there were a few preconfigured reports that were built into the system (and didn't really meet the specific user needs), or the answer was, just use an add-on report writer tool and build your own reports. That can work okay, but it means installing and learning yet another software tool. Recent announcements have shown that more attention is being paid to the need for producing user-defined reports using the capabilities of the solution itself with no additional layouts for report writing software.
  • Configurability--There are many very good workflow tools in the market today that are excellent as long as your business fits their vision of how a business should be structured. Recent announcements have highlighted enhanced flexibility for user-defined configuration of the solution. This allows you to configure the tool to fit the way you do business today, without the expense of customized solutions and all the ongoing maintenance costs that are involved with true customization.
  • Migration to Modern Platforms--Many solutions have been migrating to platforms that are a better fit with general IT trends. We all have dealt with the problems that can come up when creative solutions are proposed that are built on platforms the IT department does not support. When solutions meet all your functional requirements and also fit well in the overall IT infrastructure, it makes for a much easier sell to the enterprise.

These are exciting times to be looking for new technology solutions for creative services. Whether it be the items I listed above, or things like tight integration with personal communication devices or enhanced use of social media, technology solutions for creative services are well deserving of a fresh look. And, if you need assistance in identifying the right solution for your organization, Cella Consultants are here to help.